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Author Topic: iPF5000 impressions  (Read 9913 times)
Dan Wells
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« on: December 03, 2006, 01:25:46 AM »
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This seems to be the closest thing there is to an official iPF5000 user group, so I thought I'd post my setup and first day printing experiences with mine. I like the machine overall a great deal (coming from an Epson 4800), but there are a few things that could stand some serious improvement, and a few more that perplex me...

Even compared to an Epson 4800 (no small printer itself), this thing is huge. It is six inches longer than a 4800, and deeper as well. It weighs 99 lbs empty, and close to 130 with all the pieces attached and a roll loaded. It is almost exactly intermediate in  size and weight between the Epson 4800 and the 24 inch version, the Epson 7800!

Setup was easy, apart from getting the very heavy printer on its stand (I'm using a $40 industrial shelf from Home Depot - ugly, but very functional). There are over 20 pieces involved in getting printing on roll paper (printer, 2 trays, roll feeder, 12 ink cartridges, 2 cables and 6 pieces of the spindle). Fortunately, all but the 6 spindle pieces are nearly impossible to connect incorrectly - even the inks are keyed so they'll only fit in the right compartment. The quick setup guide is actually not bad (the manual, as often reported, is awful). The spindle parts are a puzzle, though, and the quick setup doesn't cover them! The spindle ships set up for 2 inch cores, and includes two blue adapters for 3 inch cores, which just snap into place. The other three pieces are totally undocumented! One is a "borderless spacer" which allows borderless printing on 17 inch paper - it fits right over the 3 inch adapter on the fixed end of the spindle. There's no reason to take it off while using 17 inch paper - non borderless prints work just fine with it in place. I don't have any 16 inch paper around, so I don't know if you need to take it off for narrower paper. The last two pieces are grey end caps, marked, cryptically, "1" and "2". The "2" end cap turns out to be for heavy art paper. Hahnemuhle Photo Rag will not feed correctly without it. I don't know if Canon's 260 gsm satin (the other paper I have here) will feed correctly with the "2"  cap - I used the "1" and it worked. I am going to try the satin with the "2" next time I switch rolls, so I don't have to keep swapping the 3 inch adapter between the "1" and "2" caps. The 3 inch adapter itself seems sturdy enough, but I worry about breaking the little "ears" that  hold it into the cap if I keep swapping it back and forth.

Does anyone know where to get another $5 blue plastic 3 inch adapter so I can leave one in each end cap?

There are several pieces that seem better designed than the 4800. The roll feeder is much easier to load, due to its built-in motor and better skew checking. It automatically releases tension on the paper when it's done printing (if you forget to release the 4800's tension lever manually, it can leave a mark on the paper). The ink feed looks like it's designed to get all the ink out of the cartridge (it drains from the bottom) - the 4800 is notorious for leaving quite a bit of ink in the cartridge due to a side drain. Of course, the Canon also holds paper in both feed paths simultaneously and switches seamlessly between black inks - both significant design wins for Canon

Once it was set up, I profiled it using an Eye-one Photo and the 918 patch target. My first profile was for the Canon Bright Photo Satin using the 16-bit Photoshop export module. Prints made using this profile are color accurate, perhaps a tiny bit darker than my (also profled with the Eye-one) monitor. The gamut of the iPF5000 is really amazing, especially in dark colors. Comparing the iPF5000 print to a print of the same image made on an Epson 4800 with Epson Premium Semimatte and the Atkinson profile, the Canon shows significantly more detail in the shadows, and produces much better color in the deep blues. I can't see any area on any of the six or seven images I've printed so far where I prefer the Epson rendition - some colors are very close, especially pastels. Uniquely among printers I've used, the iPF 5000 has a gamut that  exceeds Adobe RGB in certain areas (it actually helps to use ProPhoto or EktaSpace as a working space, because it will print colors outside Adobe RGB, and the 16 bit export module will get those colors to the printer). With any other printer I've used, Adobe RGB is the optimal working space, because the printer never exceeds Adobe RGB's gamut.

The image quality is a fairly clear advantage to the Canon, although the difference is subtle, it's  
certainly there. Right now, the Canon's cheaper than the Epson 4800 as well. It has several feature improvements, one of which can save a LOT of expensive ink (the simultaneous black inks). Is there any reason to buy the Epson 4800 over the iPF 5000? I would say that there is, for certain less technical users. The 4800 is a very mature machine, well-documented by Epson, and with a lot of advice and profiles available from Epson and third parties. The iPF 5000 is not only a newcomer, but one with abyssmal documentation (the user's manual is an HTML document poorly translated from the original Klingon). Michael's review mentions the annoyance of telling the printer what kind of paper is loaded from the control panel. In addition to that issue, the control panel menu is loaded with options, many of them cryptically named, and few of them documented. In that sense, it reminds me of a digital SLR circa 2001 - full of indecipherable custom functions.
Almost no canned profiles are available for the iPF 5000 in its highest-quality mode - printing with the 16-bit export module. Even the Canon-supplied profiles for their own papers are for the 8-bit driver. Very few third-party paper manufacturers provide an iPf5000 profile of any sort yet. For best quality, expect to profile every paper yourself! This means an expensive spectrophotometer and the patience to use it... By contrast, there are a lot of Epson 4800 profiles out there, and some of them, especially the Bill Atkinson profiles for most of the Epson papers plus some third party papers, are really excellent.
The ideal iPF5000 user is highly sensitive to image quality, and technically savvy enough to get the most out of a slightly tricky, poorly documented machine. Owning a copy of Photoshop CS2 and a spectrophotometer wouldn't hurt, either. If you fit that description, the iPF 5000 is a real bargain at $1395 complete with a motorized roll feeder.
I've never even seen an Epson 3800, let alone used one, so I can't draw a fair comparison there, but the iPF 5000 definitely outperforms the Epson K3 inkset. The 3800 will certainly be MUCH smaller, lighter and easier to deal with. The 3800 will be a great deal more expensive to run, both due to the smaller ink cartridges and to the lack of a roll feed (roll paper is often half the price per square foot of 17x22 inch sheets).
The other interesting competitor is the HP Z3100. Very few people have seen one of those yet. It has a similarly complex inkset, suggesting the possibility of an equal gamut. If you consider that it includes a $1000+ spectrophotometer which is a strongly recommended accessory for the iPF5000, plus a printer stand that is worth a couple of hundred dollars (any alternative except industrial shelving will be in that price range), it is about $1250 more expensive than the iPF 5000, for a 24-inch printer. The 24 inch version of the iPF5000 will probably wind up in the same price range as the HP, especially adding the cost of a spectrophotometer. A $2500 17 or 18 inch HP with the built-in spectrophotometer would be a very interesting competitor indeed.



-Dan
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John Camp
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2006, 07:10:27 AM »
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Thanks for your commentary. Do you know if there are any reports on the longevity of the 5000's inkset, compared to the Epsons? I've just about used up my 2200, and I'm thinking of going either to the 3800 or to the Canon.

JC
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2006, 07:13:08 AM »
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I was missing end caps too, so I called Canon tech support and they sent out 2 no charge
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2006, 08:56:59 AM »
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I got a couple of extra spindles (they come with the end caps & spacers) for around $100 each as I recall to make it easier to change rolls.

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Does anyone know where to get another $5 blue plastic 3 inch adapter so I can leave one in each end cap?
-Dan
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ericbullock
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2006, 09:02:41 AM »
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Comparing the iPF5000 print to a print of the same image made on an Epson 4800 with Epson Premium Semimatte and the Atkinson profile, the Canon shows significantly more detail in the shadows, and produces much better color in the deep blues.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=88363\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I'm a bit puzzled by the above statement, as Atkinson did not make profiles for a 4800. He's got them for the 7800 and 9800, so if you're using them in a 4800 that might not be optimal.

Nice job with your iPF5000 summary. You're right...this has sort of become an unofficial iPF5000 user list! Now if we can figure out more about those Special settings 1 through 5...  

-eric-
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2006, 09:38:19 AM »
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Very nice review!  I am going to add a link to the IPF5000 Wiki to this as the first individual user review not connected to a seller or major photography web site.  If you don't mind, I am also going to copy some of the stuff on the spindles and parts to the Wiki so others can benefit from your description.  I haven't gotten to the roll holder stuff yet, so I will probably benefit from your discoveries too.

Thanks.

--John
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Ed Dubois
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2006, 10:35:55 AM »
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Thanks for an excellent write up Dan. You've answered a number of questions I've had. Like many others I've been watching this site to get info on the ipf5000 and have come to the conclusion that waiting a while longer will suit me.

As a long time Canon user I'm surprised and disappointed that the documentation for this printer is so outstandingly poor. I would have expected that since it's been out for several months now a serious effort would have been made to address this issue. As an only moderately technically savvy user I'll just postpone this purchase until some better documentation and profiles are on the market, either from Canon or someone else. I seem to have enough to do without trying to guess what the techies came up with. C'mon Canon - WAKE UP!!!
« Last Edit: December 03, 2006, 10:37:07 AM by Ed Dubois » Logged
John Hollenberg
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2006, 10:51:04 AM »
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Ed,

It is reported that Canon is working feverishly on this stuff and that new media types and/or profiles will be posted within a month or so (but the Canon support guy said he was told "one month" about a month ago, so obviously it will be ready when it is ready).  A lot of us are hoping for a major improvement in the documentation, but there is also a Wiki I have created that addresses most of the shortcomings of the current Canon documentation:

http://www.canonipf5000.wikispaces.com

The FAQ is now almost a mini-manual with over 50 FAQ--most of them with good answers.  There is also a comparison of the pros and cons of the IPF5000 compared to the Epson 3800 and 4800, done as objectively as possible.  The Wiki has been in existence for less than two weeks, but is (IMHO :-) a goldmine of information on the IPF5000.  More to come as more is discovered.

--John
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serf
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2006, 10:58:22 AM »
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John:

Can't thank you enough for all your work on the wiki.  It is an excellent resource (and I'm sure, a lot of work).

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The FAQ is now almost a mini-manual with over 50 FAQ--most of them with good answers.  There is also a comparison of the pros and cons of the IPF5000 compared to the Epson 3800 and 4800, done as objectively as possible.  The Wiki has been in existence for less than two weeks, but is (IMHO :-) a goldmine of information on the IPF5000.  More to come as more is discovered.

--John
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2006, 11:17:22 AM »
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John:

Can't thank you enough for all your work on the wiki.  It is an excellent resource (and I'm sure, a lot of work).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=88429\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Not as much as you might think.  I have probably spent about 30-40 hours on it, and as a consequence now know my way around the printer pretty well.  However, I keep discovering stuff that I didn't know (I'm not very good at reading the hieroglyphics that come attached to the printer in some places).  

Example:  I finally realized that the little mobile "ramp" on top of the output tray is to be raised when printing on roll, but needs to be down when printing to sheet so that the sheets stay in the tray.  Simple enough, and after I realized what it was for I noticed the small symbols on the left side of the output tray which graphically communicate the same thing.  Now added to Wiki, since if I didn't notice this after a solid week of working on understanding the printer there will doubtless be others that missed it as well.

--John
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serf
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2006, 05:28:48 PM »
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Neat - maybe large roll prints will now stay on the cassette, instead of having to catch them as the slip off.

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I finally realized that the little mobile "ramp" on top of the output tray is to be raised when printing on roll, but needs to be down when printing to sheet so that the sheets stay in the tray.

--John
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Dan Wells
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2006, 11:00:34 PM »
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John-
     I love the Wiki, which has helped me quite a bit with my first days with the iPF 5000. Feel free to add any of my observations there in any way you would like to. The iPF 5000 user community seems to be represented primarily here and on the Wiki - I don't know why the Canon Wide Format group hasn't caught on, but I actually like this board better in terms of posting/reading software.
     
In reply to the poster who wondered about use of the Atkinson profiles with the 4800, it's the same inkset as the 7800/9800 (except for the pressurization), and also linearized in the same way. The problem with the Atkinson profiles on the 2400 is that the sample variation is much higher than on the pro printers I compared results between Atkinson and the Epson profiles meant for the 4800, and the Atkinson profiles were clearly superior.


-Dan
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2006, 11:06:31 PM »
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John-
     I love the Wiki, which has helped me quite a bit with my first days with the iPF 5000. Feel free to add any of my observations there in any way you would like to. The iPF 5000 user community seems to be represented primarily here and on the Wiki - I don't know why the Canon Wide Format group hasn't caught on, but I actually like this board better in terms of posting/reading software.

Dan,

There is a discussion area on the Wiki for each page, but I want to limit it to the FAQ page so it is all in one place:

http://canonipf5000.wikispaces.com/message/list/FAQ

There are a few posts there already, generally of a more specialized nature that might not interest the broader community at LL.  I think it is a good idea to post in both places, depending on the audience you want to reach or get feedback from.

--John
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martinmitch
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2006, 02:56:33 AM »
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Hello,

Here is link to previous discussions concerning [17 pages] the Canon iPf5000 dating from May 2006 much of which you are repeating on this present LL link.


http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=10914


Martin
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2006, 09:06:05 AM »
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Hello,

Here is link to previous discussions concerning [17 pages] the Canon iPf5000 dating from May 2006 much of which you are repeating on this present LL link.
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=10914

Yes, saw that thread, but too many tiny details which didn't seem to have universal appeal.   In addition, some of those early comments about "grain" were later rescinded, so reading this thread could give inaccurate information.  The concise description offered by the original poster is much more compact and easier to follow.  After page 2 of 17 I gave up looking for tidbits.  If there is anything significant in pages 3-17 that isn't in the Wiki, let me know and I will add it.

--John
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Ed Dubois
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2006, 12:16:13 PM »
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John,

Thanks for your reply and all your work on the Wiki. I will read it carefully. Also, I see Michael has just posted his 6 month follow-up on this printer which gives me hope that this will be the answer to my printing needs. I was especially interested to see his analysis of ink use which really is surprisingly and pleasingly low.

As mentioned before by many others and by me it is disappointing that the documentation from Canon is so poor. I'm certainly thankful for all of you on this site who have been so willing to spend the time and effort to create and share a decent set of "operating instructions" for this printer.

Many thanks!
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martinmitch
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2006, 12:49:58 PM »
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Yes, saw that thread, but too many tiny details which didn't seem to have universal appeal.   In addition, some of those early comments about "grain" were later rescinded, so reading this thread could give inaccurate information.  The concise description offered by the original poster is much more compact and easier to follow.  After page 2 of 17 I gave up looking for tidbits.  If there is anything significant in pages 3-17 that isn't in the Wiki, let me know and I will add it.

--John
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Hello,

Suggest you read on agree first part is very dry but link will explain how we have developed our printing technique using our own profiles ,which papers suit the canon printer and how we print using photo's plug in,sending 600 dpi files improves print et'c.It will help you to catch up with users of canon iPF5000 who bought their printer back in June 2006.Plus contacts made with canon about updating software.

Martin Mitchell
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2006, 04:03:40 PM »
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Martin,

If there is good stuff in there, I will read the whole 17 pages!  Thanks for the tip.  Do feel free to add to (or correct) the Wiki:

http://www.canonipf5000.wikispaces.com

--John
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2006, 12:02:54 AM »
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OK, read the whole 17 pages.  Of historical interest only, one or two small tidbits that may not be in the Wiki.  Just my opinion.

--John
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martinmitch
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« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2006, 03:17:34 AM »
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Hello,

O/K John,fair enough,I will put together an article on how I have developed my printing methods using Canon iPF5000 since July using different papers,profiling and how I print using 16 bit phot's plug-in with 600dpi files.Could be usefull?[week or two]

The Wiki is a great developement been need for such a site for ages,tried to join but having trouble with password it rejects whatever I type in!
Any idears?

Martin
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